About Birds of Paradise Sanctuary (2024)


Our road to second chances is paved with feathers.


Our mission is to be a voice for captive exotic birds and to promote unity within the avian community. We work to fulfill our mission by providing a safe haven for abused or unwanted exotic birds (regardless of species, age, special needs or behavior issues), re-socializing and rehoming eligible companion parrots, and providing educational resources to the avian community.

At Birds of Paradise Sanctuary, we firmly believe (as do many other animal rights and animal welfare organizations) that animals are not ours to exploit for entertainment or profit, and thus, they should not be bred for these purposes. However, we recognize that there is a diverse range of opinions regarding this issue. Rather than alienate ourselves from those who choose to breed parrots, we strive to maintain a courteous relationship with anyone whose actions impact the lives of parrots, and to provide whatever support possible to the birds, regardless of their condition or purpose.

Our phone number is 727-366-9997.

You can email us here.

Our address is 17020 Water Line Rd, Bradenton, FL 34212

Please note that visitation is by appointment only. You can Request a Visit here.

Birds of Paradise Sanctuary & Rescue is incorporated in the State of Florida.

We are a 501(c)(3) Certified Organization.

Our Federal EIN is 45-3674500.

Our Guidestar Profile is here.

Birds of Paradise is grateful to RIVER LANDINGS ANIMAL CLINIC for the avian medical care provided to our birds.

The clinic services in small animals, avian, and exotic medicine, surgeries, dentistry, radiology, ultrasounds, endoscopy, laboratory services, bathing, supplies, and drop off service.

Michael Bonda, DVM graduated from Cornell University in 1988. Originally from Orchard Park, NY where he was employed at the largest 24-hour referral and critical care veterinary medical center in the area, Dr. Bonda moved to Florida in 1998. He has been trained in small animal medicine, soft tissue surgery, abdominal and cardiac ultrasound and endoscopy as well as exotic and avian medicine and surgery. He was board certified in avian medicine by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 1995 as the care of parrots became a strong interest.

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Established in 2011 as a sanctuary facility, Birds of Paradise Sanctuary (BOPS) has evolved into a model rescued exotic bird sanctuary where parrots enjoy tropical ambiance and nurturing care. BOPS is the vision of Debbie Huckaby, its founder and executive director, who astutely recognizes the dire need to aid in the overpopulation issue with parrots in the United States and subscribes to the notion that “we soar or plummet together.”

No stranger to the business, Debbie has been involved with Parrot Rescue for over 10 years, during which she toured many facilities—assisting with strategic development and strength/ weakness assessment.

In August of 2011, Debbie encountered a heart-breaking situation that would change the course of her life. Dozens of parrots in Troy Ohio had been abandoned and were living in filth and extreme heat with no food and water. Tragically, many of them died of starvation and disease, while the remainder resorted to the unthinkable—eating other dead or dying parrots simply to survive. The parrot community sprang to action and Ms. Huckaby was chosen to provide a nurturing lifelong habitat for these parrots. She partnered with Golden Gait Trailers in Concord NC—who supplied transportation and funded the rescue—to transport these birds to the sanctuary and provide them with the love and dignity they deserve.

Fast forward to 2018, and you see a highly engaged community of volunteers and sustainers that support Ms. Huckaby in developing a working sanctuary with a sustaining business model, fueled by passion and poised for growth.

Over 350 parrots now call BOPS home, with many of them enjoying permanent residence or re-socialized and eligible for rehoming as a companion bird. As Ms. Huckaby espouses, “There is no denying the impact of giving a second chance to an amazing and intelligent creature. Some birds simply belong with people and for them we place an emphasis on finding people for birds, not birds for people.”

Birds of Paradise Sanctuary has flourished in the last 7 years through grants, donations, memberships, programs and public and volunteer support and anticipates a future of staying on course through smart and steady growth.


My vision is that the Birds of Paradise Sanctuary & Rescue team will provide an ecosystem where rescued captive parrots thrive in an environment uniquely tailored to their characteristics and needs.

Second Chances for Parrots

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BOPS Community Outreach Program

Protecting the Captive Parrot

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As the chair of this organization, I’m often asked why the plight of captive parrots is so important and I love this question because a large part of my role is to be their voice in the sanctuary sector of the avian ecosystem. Perhaps the most direct answer is that parrots are absolutely ill-suited for captivity and with lifespans of up to 80 years they are more than a lifetime commitment for their owners. And this deeply concerns me as just these two factors force these beautiful, intelligent—and yet instinctively wild—animals to struggle through the constraints of captivity and face anxiety from broken bonds with their companion owners. In short, from a captive parrot’s perspective, we take far more than we can possibly give back to them. Legislation has not yet begun to catch up to the billion-dollar pet bird trade and estimates say there are more than 40 million parrots kept as pets in the US alone.

Although Birds of Paradise Sanctuary & Rescue cannot solve this global issue, we can make a positive impact in the lives of captive parrots by providing a safe haven for abused or unwanted exotic birds, regardless of species, age, special needs or behavior issues. We can resocialize and rehome the parrots that will flourish as companion birds—making sure no breeders or resellers can adopt them. We can make sure our birds receive proper medical care and behavioral evaluations on a regular basis. We can shelter them in ambient, tropical aviaries where they can fly free, with natural vegetation, fresh air and sunshine—allowing them to live as close to free as possible while in captivity and still enjoy the daily interaction of only the most loving caregivers. We can work in partnership with these birds to provide rehabilitation for those that have suffered due to neglect and abuse—and we can teach them to trust humans once again through a gentle process of daily interactions and by providing them with loving communication and positive reinforcement.

And lastly, we can partner with other parrot rescues and sanctuaries throughout the US and educate the avian community. As the overpopulation crisis grows and rescue facilities in every state turn away birds daily or take in more than they can adequately care for, we will support them as best we can. We will also provide educational resources and professional advice for all those wishing to learn the proper care of exotic birds. We hope to help dispel the myths that have been spread by the pet trade industry that has led to the suffering and over population of these magnificent creatures.

In short, the Birds of Paradise Sanctuary & Rescue team can create an ecosystem where rescued captive parrots thrive in a stable environment uniquely tailored to their characteristics and needs.


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Please support our birds by making a donation today

100% of your tax-deductible donation goes towards shelter, food and medical care for the birds.


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Phone: 727.366.9997

17020 Water Line Rd
Bradenton FL 34212

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Imagine a place where neglected and abused parrots get second chances every day. Help make it a reality.


About Birds of Paradise Sanctuary (2024)


What are some interesting facts about birds-of-paradise? ›

Birds of paradise are found in New Guinea and surrounding islands. The manucodes and riflebirds species also dwell in Australia. Birds of paradise are so attractive that their appearance once made them the target of skin hunters, who decimated some species. These birds also lend their name to a colorful flower.

What does an overwatered Bird of Paradise look like? ›

Some indications that your plant could be overwatered are droopy leaves, excessive splitting, and browning edged leaves with a yellow line. If you think you may have overwatered, a soil probe can help you assess how we the soil is at the root level and aerate the soil to release excess moisture.

Are birds-of-paradise poisonous to dogs? ›

Hydrocyanic acid and alkaloids in Bird of Paradise are toxic to dogs. 🐶 Vomiting, diarrhea, seizures signal immediate veterinary attention needed. Prevent ingestion with barriers, training, and dog-friendly plant zones.

What does the Bird of Paradise symbolize? ›

Symbolism & Meaning

The bird of paradise flower symbolizes joyfulness, paradise, freedom, anticipation, and excitement. Furthermore, it represents faithfulness, love and thoughtfulness while being the official flower of the ninth wedding anniversary. It is also representative of having a good perspective on life.

How long can a bird-of-paradise live? ›

Bird of paradise plants are slow-growing and can take as many as 5 or 6 years before beginning to bloom. With proper care, a bird of paradise plant can live for decades and giant bird of paradise plants (S. nicolai) have been reported to live as long as 50 to 150 years.

Why are birds-of-paradise called birds-of-paradise? ›

Antonio Pigafetta wrote that "The people told us that those birds came from the terrestrial paradise, and they call them bolon diuata, that is to say, 'birds of God'." This is the origin of both the name "bird of paradise" and the specific name apoda – without feet.

What is the best fertilizer for birds of paradise? ›

For best growth and flowering, bird-of-paradise requires fertilization. Organic fertilizers (such as sewage sludge, manure, or blood meal), granular landscape fertilizers, or controlled-release materials such as Osmocote® or Nutricote® can be used.

What does an unhealthy Bird of Paradise look like? ›

An overwatered Bird of Paradise plant may exhibit yellowing, droopy, and splitting leaves. Browning leaf tips and edges with a yellow line is also a common sign of too frequent watering.

Do birds of paradise like to be misted? ›

Water and humidity are important to keep your Bird of Paradise healthy. It needs consistent watering to keep the soil moist, but never wet or soggy. In addition to careful watering, it will benefit from regular misting to boost its humidity.

Can you touch birds of paradise? ›

🌺 Bird of Paradise is not toxic to humans, but ingestion can cause mild effects. 🐾 Keep the plant out of pets' reach as it can irritate them. Scientific evidence of toxicity is scarce, debunking common misconceptions.

What animals eat the bird of paradise? ›

Threats: Birds of paradise have no natural carnivorous predators. However, excessive hunting by human populations and the growing logging industry encroaching on their natural habitats has put some species at risk.

What is the predator of the bird of paradise? ›

Adult Birds of Paradise have very few natural predators in the wild, but the more vulnerable Birds of Paradise chicks are preyed upon by large birds of prey and the odd snake. The main predator of the Bird of Paradise is the humans that live in settlements in the same habitat.

What flower symbolizes heaven? ›

My favorite motif in art is roses. In Islam, the rose is known as the flower of heaven. They perceive roses as symbols of the human soul, so they obviously associate the beautiful scent of roses with spirituality. For this reason, this flower is often used at both weddings and funerals.

What month does bird of paradise bloom? ›

Blooming season: The flowers are produced in succession, typically from late fall to late spring, depending on the species, latitude, and climate. In the right conditions, they can bloom year-round. A healthy, mature Bird of Paradise plant can produce up to 36 flower spikes per year.

What is the myth of the bird of paradise? ›

From their first arrival in Europe, birds of paradise were instantly mythical beings. Angels which flew without wings and with but the help of the wind, they fed on dew and never touched the ground. Nearly abstract inhabitants of the air, birds have a supernatural power over people.

What are the fun facts about the white bird of paradise? ›

This plant is commonly known as the White Bird of Paradise (Strelitzia nicolai), so-named as its large flowers are said to look a bit like a bird's head. They're also sometimes nicknamed a 'Wild Banana' plant, as their leaves look quite similar to the leaves of a banana tree.

What are the rarest birds-of-paradise? ›

Two of the rarest bird species

The Red Bird-of-Paradise is endemic to Batanta, Waigeo, and Gam Island.

Do birds-of-paradise like rain? ›

"Your newly planted bird-of-paradise will need frequent rainfall or irrigation for six months to aid with establishment," it explains. "Once established, frequent watering is only needed during the warm growing season. Irrigation is only necessary in the winter if the soil is dry."

How many birds-of-paradise exist? ›

bird-of-paradise, (family Paradisaeidae), any of approximately 45 species of small to medium-sized forest birds (order Passeriformes). They are rivalled only by a few pheasants and hummingbirds in colour and in the bizarre shape of the males' plumage.


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